Congratulations to the winner of our ‘How Do You Fight Osteoporosis?’ Contest!
We called and you answered! As part of our “How Do You Fight Osteoporosis?” contest, women from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland to Whitehorse, Yukon and more than a hundred towns and cities in between, shared their inspirational stories of how they fight osteoporosis.
After much discussion and healthy debate, judges Suzanne Boyd, Editor in Chief of Zoomer magazine, Dr. Famida Jiwa, Vice President, Operations of Osteoporosis Canada and Larry Funnell of the Canadian Osteoporosis Patient Network chose Wendy Croome of Ottawa as the Grand Prize Winner. Wendy has won a $5,000 Garden Makeover with Carson Arthur of TV’s Green Force!
Lee Newton of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Maizie Blair of Moncton, New Brunswick were also recognized as runners-up for their inspirational stories. Congratulations to our winners and thank you to everyone who entered!
Winner: Wendy Croome, Ottawa, ON
When my bone density test in January 2007 showed that I have osteoporosis I was devastated. Did this mean that I was going to have to live quietly and in fear of fractures from now on? I also felt cheated because for the 10 years since menopause I had been taking calcium and Vitamin D faithfully. I also walked a lot and took part in exercise classes. How could I have osteoporosis?
My doctor prescribed a bisphosphonate to add to the calcium and Vitamin D, and recommended that I do weight-bearing exercises. I discovered that walking is not considered the best exercise for bone building, and that some of the exercises I was doing in the group should not be performed by someone with osteoporosis. To make sure I did the best weight-bearing exercises for me, I found a personal trainer who works with people who have osteoporosis. Under her direction, I exercise at home using hand weights, exercise bands and a ball. I’ve improved my posture, muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. I feel healthier and younger. Even my “bad back” of 40 years standing has all but disappeared.
This summer, I enjoyed an amazing expedition cruise up the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Shore excursions were all made by Zodiac, which involved going down a steep gangway on the outside of the ship, stepping across to a bobbing inflatable boat, then sitting and bouncing on the inflated side as we zipped from ship to shore. Before the trip, I had been very nervous about that part, but after a ride or two, I found that I was loving it. My new-found balance, strength, and flexibility meant that I could comfortably handle the activity. I still have osteoporosis, but now instead of living fearfully I am living fully.
Runner-up: Lee Newton, Winnipeg, MB
My garden is how I fight osteoporosis, by nurturing my body, mind and spirit! Three years ago, my husband and I bought a home on almost a half-acre with some lovely mature trees, but mostly grass. We have been busy since then making paths out of reclaimed bricks and stones and planting beds of perennials, vegetables and herbs. The daily sunshine helps my body absorb calcium and phosphorous, the weight bearing exercise from pulling weeds to mowing the lawn increases my bone density, the healthy greens that we grow from kale and beet tops to spinach are a good source of calcium and the calming benefits of working among the birds and bees and the wonderful aromas of flowers and herbs is a great de-stressor! I am the founder of Winnipeg Harvest food bank and truly understand the need for good nutrition and calcium in young children to prevent osteoporosis as we age. I find that the work at the food bank can sometimes be rather overwhelming and so my garden is my refuge and relaxation at the end of the day! I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a young teenager and now in my fifties, I have found that my time in my garden is easing my symptoms and helping to ward off the effects of osteoporosis. I would be thrilled to receive some expert advice from Carson Arthur on further developing my therapeutic garden!
Runner-up: Maizie Blair, Moncton, NB
I’m not sure when I first heard about osteoporosis. It wasn’t when my grandmother’s stooped back caught my attention in the sixties. It wasn’t when my seventy three year old mum fell, broke her hip and died within the week, in the eighties. In the nineties as a La Leche League leader I remember telling mothers in our group that breastfeeding offered some protection against osteoporosis and in early 2000 my family doctor told me that hormone replacement therapy was the recommended treatment for small thin women at risk. Despite my early ignorance that genetic predisposition, body type, diet, lifestyle, and even ethnicity were risk factors I had luckily taken some proactive measures. In my teens my aunt and I had fun doing the strenuous XBX fitness program and walking five kilometer distances several times each week. At university and during my early working years, biking and walking were my transportation choices. My mum had cooked simple meals with local foods and vegetables from our garden. Dental Hygiene school had taught me good nutrition and La Leche League encouraged eating foods in their natural state. I had breastfed my three children and been active at home, at the gym, or running in the neighborhood.
At age 49 a baseline bone density revealed an acceptable spine reading but an osteopenic hip reading. At age fifty seven, six years post menopause, my latest test shows an osteoporosis value for spine and an acceptable one for hip. I now have annual screening to keep close watch on changing bone levels. With my doctor’s blessing I follow a calcium and vitamin D regimen. I drink soymilk, eat greens, canned salmon and sardines. I’ve tried ground eggshells in muffins. (I wouldn’t recommend that last suggestion) After running a full marathon at age 55, I still run ten kilometers every Saturday morning with my son. I find one hour each day to work out. Weight training, Spinning, Pilates, Boot camp and Swimming gives variety and keeps it interesting. Each day I accept and fight the osteoporosis challenge. I know there are no quick fixes but keeping educated, working with my doctor, and following the recommended lifestyle gives me control over my disease. I’m grateful to have the opportunity and ammunition that women in my mum’s generation didn’t have to fight a good fight against osteoporosis.